The Mathews County Board of Supervisors will hold two electronic meetings on Tuesday. The first, a budget work session, will be held at 1 p.m. The second, the regular monthly meeting, will begin at 6 o’clock.
Unless the governor issues new guidelines for meetings before Tuesday, County Administrator Mindy Conner said both meetings will be conducted according to protocols laid out before the budget public hearing, which was held on April 15.
The protocols include the physical presence of three board members and two staff members in the historic courthouse, with others joining electronically. The meeting will be broadcast on Facebook Live and on the county’s website, under the meeting portal. Those who wish to make public comment should contact county administration in advance for call-in information.
During the 1 p.m. meeting, Conner will present the board with a number of proposed amendments to be considered for the FY 2021 draft budget, based on the expected impact on the economy of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Conner has projected a total reduction in projected revenues of $160,000, and she includes downward projections for personal property tax ($25,000), boat tax ($5,000), machinery and tools tax ($5,000), transient occupancy tax ($5,000), local sales tax ($100,000), and business license tax ($20,000).
On the expense side of the budget, Conner has made suggested cuts, reducing funding for the schools by $204,104, explaining that the school system would still receive an additional $193,507 to help pay for the increased cost of health insurance.
Conner also suggests deferring implementation of part of a compensation plan for county and constitutional staff until Jan. 1, reducing the expenditure in half, from $106,950 to $53,475.
Finally, she suggests increasing the county’s contingency fund by $118,346, from $60,310 to $178,656, to create a rainy-day fund within the operating budget.
Conner’s report lists additional expenditures that she said should remain in the budget. They are $41,000 for an additional deputy, $34,238 for unfunded mandates for the electoral board and registrar, $16,500 for a public safety grant consultant, and $172,111 for increased costs for the regional jail, VPPSA, information technology, and social services.
Conner said the county’s capital improvement plan will need to be amended to reflect an anticipated reduction in meals tax revenue. Finally, she pointed out in the report that the county does not yet have final budget amendment figures from the state.
The Virginia General Assembly was due back in session yesterday to consider amendments and vetoes. Gov. Ralph Northam recently froze new spending in the state budget and made a number of budget cuts in response to the COVID-19 crisis. He said recently that he would be asking the General Assembly to consider the budget amendments during the reconvened session.
Conner said the budget could be amended again before it is finally appropriated on June 23.
The board can be expected to adopt the budget with whatever amendments are approved during the 6 p.m. meeting.
The suggested budget amendments can be seen on the county website, www.mathewscountyva.gov.